Spurs add WNBA champion, 16-year veteran Candice Dupree to coaching staff

Another former WNBA participant is becoming a member of Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs staff.

The Spurs are hiring WNBA champion Candice Dupree to the coaching staff, the group introduced on Friday. Dupree final performed in 2021 and was a part of the NBA’s Assistant Coaches program. She served as a visitor coach for the Spurs throughout the Summer League.

The hiring comes on the heels of one other former WNBA participant who labored for Popovich successful a WNBA title. Becky Hammon, the 2022 WNBA Coach of the Year, led the Las Vegas Aces to their first championship in franchise historical past in her first 12 months on the helm.

Candice Dupree’s profession, coaching ascension

Seattle Storm’s Candice Dupree in motion in opposition to the Las Vegas Aces throughout a WNBA basketball recreation Saturday, May 15, 2021, in Everett, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Dupree, 38, is a 16-year veteran who final performed for the Seattle Storm and Atlanta Dream within the 2021 season. The 6-foot-2 ahead averaged 14 factors, 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per recreation in her profession. She’s a seven-time All-Star and ranks fifth all-time in video games performed, fifth in factors, seventh in rebounds, third in discipline objectives and second in 2-point discipline objectives.

She spent her first 4 years with the Chicago Sky after they drafted her out of Temple with the No. 6 total decide within the 2006 WNBA draft. The majority of her profession was spent starring for the Phoenix Mercury (2010-16). She additionally performed for the Indiana Fever (’17-’20) and has two World Cup gold medals with Team USA.

In the 2014 Mercury championship season, she led the group in minutes (31.4) and was second in rebounds (7.6), second in discipline aim proportion (53.3%) and third in scoring (14.5 ppg). The group featured future Naismith Hall of Famers Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi in addition to Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Penny Taylor. DeWanna Bonner, a member of the Connecticut Sun group that fell to the Aces within the Finals, was additionally on the roster.

Dupree is certainly one of greater than 200 candidates who’ve joined the NBA’s Assistant Coaches Program (ACP), which is 20 years previous. It offers present and former gamers the chance to make connections, community and discover the coaching occupation. It additionally serves as a expertise pipeline to transfer up into the NBA coaching ranks.

WNBA gamers in coaching ranks

When Hammon first joined the Spurs coaching staff in 2014, it was met with pushback that the group was solely doing it to look progressive or meet a quota. She mentioned on the time that Popovich had to take a look at her as “genderless” and as a substitute deal with her basketball IQ.

Hammon spent eight years there and was missed for NBA coaching jobs, so final offseason she was severely thought of by the WNBA’s Aces and New York Liberty. Both had been former franchises she had performed for in her profession. She selected the Aces and it resulted in a roaring celebration on the Las Vegas Strip, WNBA championship trophy in tow, earlier this week.

Former WNBA gamers within the NBA coaching ranks at the moment embody Lindsey Harding (Kings), Teresa Weatherspoon (Pelicans) and Kristi Toliver (Mavericks), who has juggled coaching and taking part in the previous couple of seasons. Former NBA coach Niele Ivey took over the Notre Dame program following Muffet McGraw’s retirement.

There are many extra girls in coaching now than in 2014. That features a slew of former gamers working within the W, a side helped alongside by a rule put in place within the WNBA a couple of years again. The league permits groups to have a 3rd assistant coach if one of many coaches is a former participant. Seimone Augustus, for example, went from being on contract with the Los Angeles Sparks to coaching within the 2021 coaching camp interval.

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